Lifestyle Real Issues

How to cut down on single-use plastics without breaking the bank

The Growing Up Guide plastic recycling

If only being eco-friendly wasn’t so damn expensive. I’ve recently been chronicling my attempt to cut-down on the amount of plastics I use, especially single-use plastics. But whilst doing so I couldn’t help but notice how much more expensive everything seemed to be.

Sure plastics are cheap, hence why we’ve become so heavily dependent on them. But I started to wonder if you could both help the environment and not spend a fortune doing so.

So, I’ve come with a list of ways you can cut down on plastic usage, including single-use plastics without breaking the bank.

Picnic time

Summer is around the corner and that means it’s picnic time. Don’t fall into the trap of using plastic plates, cups and cutlery. Instead, opt for wooden or cardboard ones.

Places such as Poundworld and other cheap pound stores are currently stocking beautiful tropical themed items including palm tree and pineapple-style wooden straws.

But be careful, some of these items come packaged in tones of plastic wrapping which is a real shame as this seems to be entirely missing the point.

Mason jars are your friend

Mason jars also known as Kilner jars or jam jars are a fantastic way to cut down on the amount of plastic you use in the home.

They can be picked up relatively cheaply at places such as Ikea, Dunelm or even Ebay. Don’t forget the glass jars from your cooking sauces.

They can all be reused as vases, storage for dried goods, utensil holder, you can use them to mix salad dressings or as a container to take your yoghurt to work or University in.

I’ve even seen a recent trend in jam jars being used as light decorations and chandeliers.

Draw-string bags are making a comeback

For the fashion conscious out there, I’m here to let you know that the draw-string fruit and veg bags are making a comeback. Well, at least I hope they do. That’s because it’s about time that we did away with those plastic produce bags you get in the supermarket to hold your lose tomatoes and fruit.

As a student your usually only cooking for yourself so why not give the supermarket and miss and head down to your local greengrocer or market. There’s been a real upsurge in people choosing to buy their fruit and veg in local markets.

This means that not only are you buying less food by only purchasing what you actually need, thus cutting down on food wastage. But with your draw-string bag you won’t need to wrap it all in plastic your own only going to chuck away the minute you get home.

Save money – say no to plastic water bottles

This may seem ridiculously obvious but stop buying water bottles! I know it’s tempting when your about to catch a train or heading to the gym to quickly grab a bottle of water.

But not only are you wasting your money but you’re also using plastic bottles that, if not recycled properly will only end up in the ocean.

Instead, buy yourself a stainless steel bottle or a Hydro Flask and keep this with you. Then all you need do is find a water fountain which are scattered across most universities and top up for the day.

The initial outlay for the non-plastic bottle might be more than you’d usually pay but you’ll soon recoup that over an entire year and water is still free so make the most of it. Think about what the price of your convenience means for the environment.

Baking soda – start using it

Take a look in your kitchen cupboards at the amount of cleaning products there are in plastic bottles. Now try using baking soda instead. Not only does it come in a box, but it does pretty much the same thing as most of your cleaning products combined.

It can be used around the house as a powerful cleaning agent for everything from washing your dishes to using as a scrub for cleaning the bathroom, the oven or the floors.

Or if you really don’t want to give up your liquid laundry detergent you can add it to what you use already to get those clothes looking even cleaner. In addition, it can also be used to clean brushes and combs or sprinkled at the bottom of your rubbish bins to remove odours.

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